As the playoffs begin, a lot is running through the players, coaches, and fans’ minds. Sure there is some anticipation of a new arena with a great atmosphere and ticket prices so high even Bill Gates cringes when he sees them. But that won’t be until October.
Right now there is the possibility of 28 grueling games ahead with one goal in mind: Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Recently player injuries, including John Madden, Patrik Elias, and Brian Gionta cause some concern over their reliability and their stamina over the next two months.
Oh, and we should certainly not forget that GM and CEO of the New Jersey Devils who, which we all have faith in, is once again behind the bench of a team he piloted quickly past Round 1 last year and in to a brick wall in Round 2.
I’ve been asked on several occasions what is going on with this team and why would we fire a coach with only 4 games remaining and standing first in the division. There are two possible answers, one Lou-ish and one cynical.
The Lou-ish answer is that he’d been planning this for a month or two and noticed that Coach Julian wasn’t getting the performance out of the players Lou knew they were capable of. So, with good intentions in mind, Lou asked Julian to step down and he would take the reins behind the bench as the team settled in to enter the playoffs.
The cynical answer is that Lou knew he had a lot of young kids on the team and Julian was just the guy to train them. Now that Julian’s job is done training them and molding them in to the Devils team we see today, Lou was finished with him and fired him.
I like to keep the rose-colored glasses on and believe option one.
As of the time of this writing, the Devils have two options for a first round opponent. The first is the Tampa Bay Lightning and the second is the New York Rangers. Against Tampa Bay, the Devils have a 1-2-1 record, and against New York, the Devils have a 5-2-1 record.